A gang member in the Colombian capital of Bogota. Photo: Juan Santacruz
In a story that sounds more Medellin than Madrid, agents of Spain's National Police said on Monday that they had arrested the members of a 'collection agency' charged with following up on outstanding drug debts.
The Colombian assassins involved would 'collect' on unpaid drug debts owed by Spanish citizens by kidnapping, injuring or killing people.
Their commission for the task could reach as high as a healthy 50 per cent, stated the police.
The hitmen were eventually detained after police from Spain´s Special Operations Forces intercepted a rental van in the Madrid district of Leganés loaded with weapons including anti-tank grenades, a rifle with a telescopic sight, and even police uniforms.
The arrest came at the end of a 16-month international investigation also involving Colombian police and officers from the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
According to police reports, the hitmen working in Spain were directed by a powerful 'patron' and numbered in their ranks members of far-right paramilitary organization the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia.
In a bizarre twist, the hired killers would kick-off a hit by saying "enviarle flores", or send them flowers.